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  #11  
Old 08-24-2011, 11:17 AM
aceves's Avatar
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

Hi jimkramer,

I'm in the same position as you: 2 little ones, endless renovation projects, and a WFO build going on 3 years! But I never lost sight of the end result and I kept doing little things to the build when I had the time.

Finally, I'm 3/4 done with my dome and I'll be closing it in this weekend and perhaps completing my entry arch. If things work out, we'll be cooking our Thanksgiving turkey in the oven!

Don't give up and keep working on the WFO! Now that you've started your build, you have to see it through!

Good luck, ask away and post progress pics!

aceves
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2011, 06:47 PM
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Location: Westchester
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

Almost the end of the building season here just north of NYC, and I'm probably just gonna get the hearth slab poured. Took the whole summer to build the form. Poor planning, rain, and generally not knowing what I'm doing, having to redo things seems to be the problem. That, and only being able to get a few hours in to do anything. Again, I blame it on my kids. The real problem is, since the bottom slab wasn't poured right (square or level - I blame that on the guy who I paid to do it when he built our front steps) everything else continued to get off kilter. Now I've got no real reference points to measure off. However, the form for the slab is level on top. I figure that'll allow me to make the top of the slab level, which is the most important thing so I can start the oven off right. Build's still moving slower than a snail, but it's moving. Next spring I'll hit the ground running, and there's a small chance I could fire it up by 11/12.
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  #13  
Old 10-24-2011, 08:44 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

With the top to the slab level add your re-bar and pour your slab. I suggest you rent a pull behind pre-mixed concrete, you could be done with the slab in an hour.

Being out of square is no big deal. Just pick a spot for center that looks good from where you will be viewing your oven or measure from one side only and the front for your center line. The out of square parts of the stand can be covered with brick, stone, or stucco ... and made to look square when you do the finish work.
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  #14  
Old 07-15-2012, 05:44 PM
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Location: Westchester
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

I am attempting to set a record for the longest oven build (started fall of '09) and believe I am on a pace to do it.

I finally poured the hearth slab. I was dragging my feet about how to get it done, and finally decided to have a truck come and pour it. Since I would have had to hire a guy to help me mix and pour the concrete, and would have had to pay to deliver bags of ready mix, I think it worked out to about the same cost. The delivery guy was very helpful in telling me and my friend when and how to screed, and even helped us rake the concrete into the form. I had nightmares before the pour about him dumping it and leaving in five minutes to get to the next customer, then the form collapsing, and me having to start again from square 1. But he took plenty of time (and the form didn't collapse) . So if it cost a few extra bucks to have a truck, it was well worth it. I was so relieved it went easily that I tipped him $20. The slab isn't perfectly level, but the bubble is at least barely between the lines throughout, so I think it's good enough for pizza.

A couple questions:

I wet the slab down the night it was poured, but I guess that was too late, because there's a couple long hairline cracks. The slab was in the shade for most of the day, but it got up to the high 80's, with a couple hours of direct sunlight in the late afternoon. At least it's very humid here the last couple days. Should I seal the cracks off before I put down the oven floor? How long should I keep it wet? The concrete guy said 28 days, but I think he deals with much bigger jobs. He said this was the first slab for an oven he's poured. I think he mixed it a little wetter than it would be if you do it yourself.

I really appreciate everyone in the forum's help and encouragement. Would have given up long ago without it.
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2012, 07:10 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester
Posts: 86
Default Finally cut a brick!

Literally, one brick. I laid them all out and had to get at least one cut before dinner. And must give props to my friend Brian (pic with the form) who helped me with the slab pour a few weeks ago. Feels great to finally begin the oven proper! I decided to go for the gold (closing night of olympics) and put the floor inside the dome. The edges and corners of my bricks seem very fragile, so I can imagine they'll get chipped quick with a peel and several will need replacing. I'm just starting to get used to my brand new HF saw, as you can see by the big ol' blade mark in my (only) cut brick. Also, a bit cracked off the bottom edge when I cut too quick. I guess the motion is to do a long, straight cut, then shave the rest with several shorter cuts, right? Don't know how else you'd get a curved cut. I got a segmented blade, since other posters said the continuous rims wear down faster. I guess the segmented is a "rough cut" blade, but it seems fine for our purposes. My only concern is if it's too rough due to my lame skills, the gap will be too big between the hearth and first course around it. But I think it's close enough for pizza.

Finally, perhaps the world will see that a Jewish social worker can be handy with power tools.
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2012, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

Jim,

So this is the new HF saw model..........one thing I notice, if you still have the water pump in the water tray, take it out and put it in a 5 gallon bucket with fresh water. All that cutting will ruin the pump in short order. Save you some anguish.......good luck with the build.
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2012, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

Russell makes a good point with the 5-gal bucket. A second bucket placed below your tray will make a nice reservoir for water to replace your input bucket, especially the next morning after all of the brick dust has settled to the bottom.

On the HF saw, try to keep the jets clean (I ran a wire up into them periodically) since diminished water pressure shortens the life of your blades. Periodically running your pump for a few minutes in a sink full of warm water also helps flush it out and extends its life.

Keep going on your build. At the rate I'm going we may finish our builds at the same time.
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  #18  
Old 08-13-2012, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

In addition to the bucket, get a tupperware container a little bigger than the pump, put the pump in it, and wrap the tupperware in a small towel and tiewrap it around hose and cord. This keeps all the gunk out of the pump and your saw, and when you refill the 5 gallon bucket just wash off the towel.
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  #19  
Old 08-13-2012, 01:45 PM
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

Jim - your hearth looks pretty good to me. Certainly not what I was expecting from your comments! I think you've got all the skills you need.

I can't believe how clean that tile saw is. Give it a couple weeks, it'll look like it's been in the sahara for 100 years. The bucket trick works for the pump, but worst case - they sell replacments for about $10 at HF. I used mine in the tray and never had a problem. My only trouble with the saw was that I think the tray was invented by satan. Impossible to clean with all those nooks and crannies. Meh.
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  #20  
Old 08-13-2012, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: Jim's Build for the Common Man

Yikes! Never knew there was so much to know about a saw pump. That's why this forum is so awesome. When I read these posts, I was sure the pump was still in the water since Sunday, and was worried, as I didn't get home until 9PM tonight. Went to the saw when I got home, and I'm proud to say I had taken it out after working yesterday.
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